New Delhi: Government officials hoping for a promotion could soon have to prove their merit on a new parameter — how sensitive they are to colleagues from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (SC/STs).
Under a proposed new format for government officials’ performance appraisal reports, they will be evaluated on the basis of their “effectiveness in development and protection of Scheduled Castes and/or Scheduled Tribes”. This will be in addition to their professional achievements and “exceptional contributions”.
The section entails appraisal on the following counts — attitude towards Scheduled Castes and/or Scheduled Tribes, sensitivity to social justice, ability to take quick and effective action to prevent and quell atrocities and ensure justice to Scheduled Castes and/or Scheduled Tribes, and “effectiveness in bringing about the development of Scheduled Castes and/or Scheduled Tribes”.
While an official in the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) said the move is meant to boost sensitisation towards SCs and STs, a section in the format has created uncertainty over its application.
The draft appraisal report says the column will be filled “only in the case of officers dealing with development and protection of SCs and/or STs”.
“Where the column is not applicable in the case of any officer, it may be stated against the column,” the format states.
However, it is not clear whether only officials handling issues concerning SC/STs would be evaluated on this basis or it will apply to any officer with subordinates from these communities.
“This has been done to ensure that government officials, even at senior levels, are always conscious of their conduct vis-a-vis the SC/ST communities,” the DoPT official said. “A lot of times, discrimination goes undetected unless someone files a formal complaint.”
However, a Dalit IAS officer serving at the Centre cited the clause in question to say the measure was unlikely to have a “real impact”.
The clause, the IAS officer said, renders the inclusion of this attribute “irrelevant”.
“Ideally, any and every officer should be evaluated on the basis of their sensitivity towards SCs/STs… Once you include this clause, it is as if SCs and STs exist somewhere out there and encountering them is a rarity,” the officer added.
Another new criterion
In addition to this clause, officers of the Central Civil Services are also likely to be evaluated on the basis of the work done by them through the government e-marketplace (GeM), a portal where common user goods and services can be procured.
The GeM was launched in 2016 in order to create an open and transparent procurement platform for government requirements.
The criteria on which evaluation will be based include the total procurement made through GeM during the period under consideration, percentage of procurement against the budget indicated in the target, procurements not made through the portal and the reasons thereof, and steps taken for promotion of GeM within the ministry, department, division or section.